The Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM) has released the Measuring the Australian Night Time Economy Report, which is showing encouraging results for the country’s night-time economy (NTE).

The report covers the 2021/2022 financial year, and despite the impact of Covid restrictions during part of this period, there is positive news for businesses and sectors working in the NTE.

The report states: “The number of Core NTE businesses increased between June 2021 and June 2022, bringing the total to 131,373 (+8.1k / + seven per cent). The strongest growth was in the Leisure & Entertainment sub-sector (+4.3k / +12 per cent), with over half of the increase due to Creative and Performing Arts activities (+2.6k).

“The Food (+3.4k / + four per cent) and Drink (+429 / + five per cent) sub-sectors also experienced growth. As of June 2022, there were 20,438 more Core NTE businesses in Australia than before pre-pandemic in June 2019 (+18 per cent), indicating that despite the external challenges the sector has faced over the past few years, it continues to be resilient.

“In the 2021/22 financial year, Core NTE businesses generated $146bn in sales turnover. This represents an increase of 10 per cent from 2020/21 and is five per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2018/19, however, inflation has increased by 7.6 per cent since the pandemic (4.4 per cent since 2020/21), placing the sector slightly behind 2018/19 in real terms.

“Like the number of establishments, the strongest percentage growth was in the Leisure & Entertainment sub-sector (+$5.5bn / +14 per cent), driven by Creative and Performing Arts activities (+$1.3bn / +22 per cent) and Sports and Physical Recreation Activities (+$2.1bn / +14 per cent).

“Despite a small increase (one per cent) in Core NTE employment between June 2021 and June 2022, Core NTE employment was -6 per cent lower in June 2022 than in pre-pandemic June 2019 (66k fewer employees). The Leisure & Entertainment sub-sector had -35k fewer jobs in June 2022 than in June 2019 (-12 per cent) and employment in this sub-sector fell four per cent (-11k employees) between June 2021 and June 2022.

“Employment trends are at odds with the growth in sales turnover, which could be due to businesses’ uncertainty about future income in a changed market situation. Inflation, staff shortages and a move towards increased contactless operations could also be contributing factors.”

Looking at the drinks sub-sector, the report says that we reached 9457 establishments in 2021/22 with sales turnover increasing by five per cent to $21.9bn. This performance was driven primarily by Pubs, Taverns and Bars, where sales turnover increased by nine per cent to $12.4bn, while liquor retailing sales turnover increased slightly to $9.6bn (from $9.5bn).

For each state and territory the report stated: “The Northern Territory experienced the greatest percentage growth in sales turnover (+21 per cent) and employment (+16 per cent), putting it three per cent below its pre-pandemic peak.

“New South Wales had the largest absolute increase in Core NTE employment (+14,015 / + five per cent), driven mostly by the Food sub-sector (up seven per cent) although Core NTE employment remained 14 per cent below 2018/19 levels.

“In Victoria, the number of establishments grew seven per cent, driven mostly by a 17 per cent increase in Leisure & Entertainment (particularly Creative and Performing Arts +20 per cent) although many were non-employing. Turnover increased by nine per cent, but employment declined five per cent on 2020/21, mostly due to job losses in Leisure & Entertainment.

“In Queensland employment remained steady, but there was a marked increase in sales turnover (+16 per cent) due to particularly strong performance in Leisure & Entertainment (+20 per cent). Sales turnover in this activity returned to 2018/19 levels and Core NTE sales exceeded past their pre-pandemic peak.

“Western Australia and the ACT surpassed both pre-pandemic employment and sales turnover levels. In 2021/22, employment grew 11 per cent sales turnover 18 per cent in Western Australia compared to 2018/19, whereas in the ACT employment and sales turnover grew by one per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

“By comparison, employment in South Australia and Tasmania declined in 2021/22 by eight per cent and 14 per cent respectively, particularly in the Food sub-sector. These declines mean that Core NTE employment in both states fell below pre-pandemic levels by 11 per cent and three per cent respectively, offsetting the strong recovery each area experienced in 2020/21.”

The full report, which also details the performance of member cities, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Maroondah, Newcastle, Parramatta, Penrith, Perth and Sydney, is available on the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors website.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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